A study of the police use of social media and its effectiveness in helping to keep the peace and maintain public confidence during major events and public disorder

Walker, Andrew James (2013) A study of the police use of social media and its effectiveness in helping to keep the peace and maintain public confidence during major events and public disorder. MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this study is to understand how the police use of social media can have an impact on their ability to keep the peace and build public confidence. This evaluation considers the relevance of ‘trust and confidence’ to the question of police effectiveness and examines, in particular, how that confidence is affected by the policing of large events and public order.
    This report reviews the approach that the police have traditionally taken to dealing with large scale public order events and how that approach has been influenced by models of crowd behaviour. It then considers whether that approach has changed in response to the networked characteristics of social media and user-created content, and how effective that responsiveness has been.
    The focus of this study is on a review of the academic literature in order to assess the way in which the evolving approach to public order policing has been affected by the advent of social media. In addition, this study looks closely at two contrasting case studies of similar events and also draws on primary research comprising surveys of an ‘expert group’ from within policing.
    The research uncovers the fundamental importance of public confidence to police effectiveness and legitimacy. Furthermore, it establishes that the way in which public order policing is delivered can have an impact on public confidence which goes far beyond the event itself.
    It is demonstrated that the use of social media by the police in this context is at best inconsistent, with some examples of excellent practice. It is recommended that the police take steps to ensure that good practice is embedded in their approach to public order policing and that their use of social media becomes smart, dynamic and responsive as a tool to help keep the peace and maintain public confidence.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2013 10:34
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:31
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/13953

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